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Valentino Rossi eyeing move to GT racing after MotoGP retirement

As rumours around Valentino Rossi and his MotoGP future continue to swirl, one theory sees the Italian racing in GT cars

Valentino Rossi - Petronas SRT Yamaha 2021.jpg

THE future of Valentino Rossi is one of the most talked-about subjects in the MotoGP paddock and motorcycle media as a whole. The news in the paddock is that when the seven-time champion does retire, he’s heading to race on four wheels, specifically GT racing.

The news may not come as a surprise to many, Rossi has always had a soft spot for racing on four wheels, both on the dirt in rallying and also on the track in GT. Hell, he even flirted with the idea of switching to F1 back in the day. Oddly, for a global megastar, Rossi’s excuse for not making the switch to F1 at the time was that he didn’t fancy the limelight it would bring! “I don't like being famous - it is like a prison. And driving for Ferrari [the F1 team he tested for] would make it far worse.”

With reports in the MotoGP paddock suggesting that Rossi has a performance clause in his Petronas SRT contract, something that he is unlikely to attain given his current lowly 19th place in the standings, The Doctor’s switch to four wheels could be coming sooner rather than later.

The move will be a fairly simple one for the rider that many fans revere as the ‘GOAT’, he’s already had successful outings in GT3-spec machinery, both in spring races and the Blancpain Endurance series. He performed well, although his Kessel Racing backed, VR46 sponsored outfit didn’t trouble the factory-backed Audi, BMW or McLaren teams.

“When I finish with MotoGP I want to race with the cars,” Rossi said in an interview with Autosport.

“I did some experience with rallying because I am a rally fanatic.

“I also did a world championship race, but for me rallying at the end is difficult because it’s very demanding and I want to race on circuits because I prefer it, I like it more.

“I have experience racing the GT3, which is an interesting category because it has a lot of different factory cars, important – from Ferrari to Porsche, from Bentley to Aston Martin.

“So, I think I will race with that type of car when I stop racing in MotoGP. But I don’t know in which championship sincerely.

“There’s a difference – there’s the endurance championship, there’s the 24 hours, a lot of races. But I hope to race there.”

Petronas Yamaha MotoGP 2021 | New Yamaha M1 Motorcycle Specs for Valentino Rossi

Petronas Yamaha MotoGP 2021 | New Yamaha M1 Motorcycle Specs for Valentino Rossi

While all signs point to Rossi’s, seemingly imminent move to four-wheeled competition, there is also the small matter of his much-talked-about move into team management and ownership through his VR46 programme. The decision on that will be made in 2022, but with Moto3 and Moto2 teams already in the championship, not making the leap to MotoGP seems like a strange move. Could Rossi launch a MotoGP team, oversee it’s first season and race in GTs?